Do you want the sophistication and flavour bomb of a craft cocktail but also want to simplify your hosting?  Want a hostess gift that will save you both from bartending duties?

Batch up your cocktails ahead of time, and serve them up a pitcher at a time at your next gathering.  (Some of the ingredients in these cocktails do require a bit of prep, so do read all the instructions to account for prep time!)

Some tips for getting the best taste and value from your drinks:

  • add the alcohol last–it’s the most expensive ingredient and if you make a mistake, you won’t have to toss the booze
  • roll your lemons, limes and grapefruit on the counter before you juice them and juice your citrus at room temperature to get the most juice
  • always use fresh citrus juice and do not prep citrus juice more than two hours ahead because it will lose its freshness
  • leave out the alcohol and just add it to each serving if you want to offer the base as an alcohol-free alternative
  • Hold onto your empties!  Keep your beautiful booze bottles or swing top beer bottles for batching up these beauties.

These recipes all make 8 servings.

Thai Chicken Broth Sour

Thai Chicken Broth Sour

Yes!  Broth!!

When Campbell’s suggested that we try adding brothtails to our cocktail line-up, I could not wait to experiment!  My mushroom-based North is always a hit (find it here in our autumn cocktails post), and I was eager to add to my savoury cocktail repertoire.  The broth gives this cocktail a spicy hit and an umami hum in the background.  One day ahead of time, you can make ice cubes from the broth, which will add more spice and flavour as it melts into the drink.  The cocktail mixture can be made up to two hours ahead of serving time.  I have made this cocktail for two groups of friends, and it’s been a HUGE success.

2 1/2 oz Campbells Thai Chicken Broth

2 cups Chili-infused Stolichnaya Vodka

6 oz fresh lime juice

6 oz lemongrass syrup

Make the lemongrass syrup by combining one cup of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan.  Add two tablespoons of chopped lemongrass to the solution and let it steep for an hour.  (You can also use the lemongrass from a tube that’s in the vegetable section of the grocery store.)  Strain.  The syrup will keep in the fridge for a week.  Make the chili-infused vodka by chopping two chili peppers into slices; drop them into a measuring cup and add two cups of vodka.  Let steep for five minutes; if the spice level is right for you after five minutes strain out the chilis, if not, steep for longer.  I like spice, and I just left the peppers in the bottle.  Combine all the ingredients into a bottle, shake to combine and chill.  Serve in a rocks glass with ice and garnish with a slice of chili pepper.

Brunch Kir Royale (lead photo)

A traditional kir royale combines just two ingredients: cassis and sparkling wine.  This recipe gives that mixture a nutritious boost with citrus, honey and yogurt, making it a perfect cocktail for a festive brunch.  To make this non-alcoholic, swap out the creme de cassis for a blackcurrant cordial (like Ribena) and the sparkling wine for Silver Swallow Luxury Kombucha which gave this cocktail a really lovely kick.  Kombucha is fermented tea, and it has the bubble and tang similar to a sparkling wine.  You can prepare this up to two hours ahead of time, but only add the bubbles at the last minute.

12 oz creme de cassis or blackcurrant cordial

6 oz fresh grapefruit juice

4 oz fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 oz honey

sparkling wine or Silver Swallow kombucha

Combine all of the ingredients except the wine in a bottle and shake to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Fill a collins glass with ice, fill 1/2 of the glass with the cassis mixture then top with sparkling wine.

The diane rye cocktail

The Diane

I created this cocktail for my mother in law several years ago, and it has stayed in the line-up at family cocktails.  It’s simple and delicious.  Do try to get the unsweetened cranberry juice.  Its tartness really punches up the flavour of the cocktail.

two cups Canadian Club Rye

two cups unsweetened cranberry juice

1 cup ginger syrup

soda water (optional)

cranberries for garnish

Make the ginger syrup by combining one cup of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan.  Heat to a simmer and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Add two tablespoons of grated fresh ginger and let the mixture steep for an hour.  Strain through a sieve and add to other ingredients.  This can be made a day or two ahead of time.  When you are ready to serve, pour into a pitcher filled with ice, and give it a quick stir to dilute.  Serve with a cranberry garnish and soda water to lengthen if you want it less strong.

All images by Libby Roach. Always drink responsibly- know your limit- and never, ever drink and drive.